Rick Geffken and Muriel J. Smith have provided a cross-section of the county through their many stories.
RED BANK – Hidden History of Monmouth County, authored by Rick Geffken and Muriel J. Smith, an eclectic combination of stories about Monmouth County people and places, will be in local bookstores and available for purchase Aug. 12. The paperback book, the first co-authored by these Monmouth County historians, is published by Arcadia Publishing.
Geffken, who has written several other history books highlighting a variety of fascinating facts focusing on different areas of Monmouth County, is also a regular contributor to the Two River Times and numerous other local and statewide newspapers. He has presented historical research topics, given talk to local organizations, museums and churches and appeared on New Jersey Cable TV. Among his books published by Arcadia are Lost Amusement Parks of the North Jersey Shore, which he wrote with George Severini, and The Story of Shrewsbury Revisited, 1965-2015, which he wrote with former Shrewsbury Mayor and historian Don Burden.
Born in Jersey City, Geffken entered the ROTC program at St. Peter’s College, Jersey City, where he majored in mathematics and economics, and was commissioned a US Army 2nd Lieutenant at graduation. He is the third generation of his family to serve in the nation’s military and served in South Vietnam as an aerial reconnaissance officer. Geffken is a retired computer industry sales executive and former secondary school mathematics teacher. He is a past president and trustee of the Jersey Coast Heritage Museum at Sandlass House, Trustee of the Shrewsbury Historical Society, and is a member of the Monmouth County Historical Association. A popular speaker on historical topics, Rick has appeared at dozens of historical societies and libraries throughout New Jersey.
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Smith, a native of Union, has lived in Monmouth County for more than 60 years, and is a former newspaper editor with The Courier in Middletown and Forbes Newspapers in Somerville. She is former Chairman of the Editorial Committee of the NJ Press Association, and an award winning journalist in news, investigative reporting and feature writing. A graduate of Mount St. Mary’s Academy in North Plainfield, she is a former member of the Freehold Borough Historic Preservation Committee and current member of the Monmouth County Historical Commission as well as several local historical societies. She is the author of three books; however, this is her first published book on Monmouth County history. She was recently successful in having a Congressional Medal of Honor removed from a Pennsylvania college where it was being used to honor a college graduate rather than the Freehold resident who received the Medal for valor during the Civil War. The Medal has since been returned to the family of the Freehold recipient, James T. Fallon.
“Muriel and I have had fun with this book,” Geffken said, “culling stories we each have written for local newspapers to ensure we have a cross section of Monmouth County history included in this compilation of short stories. Whether it’s my stories about Christ Church and its cemetery in Shrewsbury, or the story of European royalty and American brides, or the shipwreck of The Malta, or her stories about a the Ben Shahn mural in Roosevelt or the only Congressman killed during the American Revolution, or how NWS Earle was built during World War II, we’ve put together fascinating and fun facts from all over Monmouth County.”
“We’ve also given different views on a few subjects dear to us both,” Smith added. “It’s interesting to see the different angles we took on writing about Jersey Speed Skiffs, the Sandlass Family of Sea Bright, and even boxer Mickey Walker from the 1920s, to say nothing of Molly Pitcher.”
Both authors are available for presentations to local organizations either jointly or individually.